Why Competing on the Basis of “I’m Stronger/Better Than You” is a Losing Strategy

Competition is a natural part of life. From sports to business, competing with others is often seen as a way to achieve success and reach our goals. However, competing on the basis of “I’m stronger/better than you” can actually be a losing strategy in the long run. In this article, we will explore why this mentality can be detrimental to personal and professional success, and provide alternatives for a more fulfilling and effective approach to competition.

The Problem with the “I’m Stronger/Better Than You” Mentality

The “I’m stronger/better than you” mentality is based on comparison and competition with others. It focuses on being better than someone else rather than striving for personal growth and fulfillment. While this mentality may produce short-term victories, it often leads to burnout, stress, and unfulfillment in the long run.

Here are some reasons why competing on the basis of “I’m stronger/better than you” is a losing strategy:

1. It is based on external validation

When we compete on the basis of “I’m stronger/better than you,” we are seeking external validation from others. Our sense of self-worth becomes tied to our achievements and how we compare to others, rather than being rooted in our own intrinsic value as human beings. This can lead to feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy when we inevitably fall short or fail.

2. It leads to burnout and stress

Competing on the basis of “I’m stronger/better than you” can also lead to burnout and stress. When our focus is solely on outdoing others, we can neglect our own well-being and push ourselves beyond our limits. This can result in physical and mental exhaustion, and even lead to chronic health problems.

3. It limits our potential for growth

Finally, competing on the basis of “I’m stronger/better than you” can limit our potential for growth. When we are always comparing ourselves to others, we may become complacent and stop pushing ourselves to improve. We may also feel threatened by others’ success and miss out on opportunities for collaboration and learning.

Alternatives to the “I’m Stronger/Better Than You” Mentality

So, if competing on the basis of “I’m stronger/better than you” is a losing strategy, what alternatives exist? Here are some approaches that can lead to more fulfilling and effective competition:

1. Compete with yourself

Instead of focusing on how you measure up to others, compete with yourself. Set goals and strive for personal growth and improvement. This approach allows you to focus on your own progress rather than being distracted by others’ achievements.

2. Collaborate with others

Collaboration can be a powerful tool for achieving success. Rather than viewing others as competitors, see them as potential partners in achieving shared goals. By working together, you can leverage each other’s strengths and experiences to achieve more than you could alone.

3. Seek intrinsic motivation

Seeking intrinsic motivation, or doing things for their own inherent value, can help you avoid the pitfall of seeking external validation. Focus on doing things because they inspire you, bring you joy, or align with your values, rather than solely for the purpose of winning or beating others.

4. Embrace failure as an opportunity for growth

Failure is a natural part of the learning process. Rather than being discouraged by failure, embrace it as an opportunity for growth and learning. By reframing failure as a stepping stone on the path to success, you can continue to push yourself and learn from your mistakes.

5. Practice gratitude and mindfulness

Finally, practicing gratitude and mindfulness can help you maintain a positive outlook on life and avoid the comparison trap. By focusing on the present moment and appreciating what you have, you can cultivate a sense of contentment and fulfillment that is independent of external achievements.


Competing on the basis of “I’m stronger/better than you” may seem like a natural way to achieve success, but it is ultimately a losing strategy. Rather than seeking external validation and comparing ourselves to others, we can strive for personal growth, collaborate with others, seek intrinsic motivation, embrace failure as an opportunity for growth, and practice gratitude and mindfulness. By adopting these approaches, we can achieve more fulfilling and effective competition, and ultimately find greater success and fulfillment in our personal and professional lives.


Related Posts

  1. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227-268.
  2. Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. Random House.
  3. Grant, A. M. (2013). Give and take: A revolutionary approach to success. Viking.
  4. Harackiewicz, J. M., & Elliot, A. J. (1993). Achievement goals and intrinsic motivation. Journal of personality and social psychology, 65(5), 904-915.
  5. Hwang, J. Y., Plante, T., & Lackey, K. (2008). The development of gratitude in undergraduate students. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 3(3), 153-165.
  6. Kesebir, S. (2014). A quiet ego quiets death anxiety: Humility as an existential anxiety buffer. Journal of personality and social psychology, 106(4), 610-623.
  7. Pink, D. H. (2009). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. Penguin.
  8. Schippers, M. C., Den Hartog, D. N., Koopman, P. L., & Wienk, J. A. (2013). Diversity and team outcomes: The moderating effects of outcome interdependence and group longevity and the mediating effect of communication. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34(6), 777-800.
  9. Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410-421.
  10. Sheldon, K. M. (2014). Becoming oneself: The central role of self-concordant goal selection. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 18(4), 349-365.
  11. Siedlecki, K. L., Salthouse, T. A., Oishi, S., & Jeswani, S. (2014). The relationship between social support and subjective well-being across age. Social Indicators Research, 117(2), 561-576.
  12. Tafarodi, R. W., & Swann Jr, W. B. (2001). Two-dimensional self-esteem: Theory and measurement. Personality and Individual Differences, 31(5), 653-673.